Where Do Kids Fit In to the Baby Step Plan?

Joel says his wife really wants to be a mom and would like to start planning for that. Joel wants to wait a little longer and build up their emergency fund before taking that step. Who's right?

QUESTION: Joel in Colorado Springs says his wife really wants to be a mom and would like to start planning for that. Joel wants to wait a little longer and build up their emergency fund before taking that step. Who’s right?

ANSWER: Within reason on number of children, the old saying is true. If you wait until you think you can afford them, you’ll never have them. Whenever you guys think you want babies, get babies. You’re fine. You’re out of debt. You’re already working on your emergency fund. Before the baby got here, you’d have the emergency fund complete. If she announced this morning that she was pregnant, you’d have nine months to finish it.

You’re a responsible guy. You’re going to be a good dad. You’re going to be a good provider. You don’t have to wait another day.

That opinion is probably worth what you paid for it, but that’s my belief on it. I don’t teach people that you have to be out of debt or have every little detail worked perfectly on their money before they have babies. Babies are not that expensive. They don’t break your back like everybody talks about. They generally eat from your table, assuming you teach them to. You can let them break your back if you want to spoil them and be crazy parents, but the first years, you’ve got diapers and baby stuff. But seriously, it’s not the end of the world. You can work your way through it, and very few times are people having kids their problem. Now if you go to an extreme and have 16 kids, then yeah—that many baby birds to feed can become a financial problem without a doubt. But the normal sized family in America—usually, children are not your financial issue.